Bruce Lee's second project, was originally entitled, "The School of Chivalry", with Lo Wei once again in the director's chair. He wrote the story based on the famous Chinese martial artist, "Fok Yeun Gap." The budget for this was three times higher than "The Big Boss" and was shot at the new Golden Harvest studios located on Hammer Hill Road. Before filming started on October 17th, 1971 the title was changed to "The Intercepting Fists" to cash in on Bruce's new popularity and a trailer was shot which is now sadly lost.
Preproduction photos show Bruce with his hair slicked back. "This idea came from Lo Wei's wife but the only problem was that Bruce's hair kept falling back down when he'd move. So i told Bruce to scrap the idea and he agreed. Lo Wei's wife blames me to this day for Bruce's change in heart" chuckled Bob Baker who played the Russian role of "Petrov" in the movie.
Bruce plays "Chen" a fictional student returning back to attend his master Fok Yuen Gap's funeral. While at the funeral, a rival Japanese Bushido School deliver a sign, with the words, "Sick Men of Asia" and Bruce wants revenge. That very same day, he pays a visit to the Japanese school and wipes the floor with the lot of them, using first his hands and feet and then using for the first time in his movies the legendary nunchakas. What is amazing about Bruce's opening sequence of around seven quick combination kicks is that this was all filmed in one take. No editing was needed for Bruce Lee, he was the real deal!
Interestingly, Han Ying Chieh is credited again as fight director but Bruce directed all of his own fight scenes for this movie. Han took care of the non-Bruce Lee action sequences but these don't compare to the sheer excitement of Bruce's action scenes. Of course then the Japanese school return the visit to the Ching Wu school and totally trash the place. Instead of all out war, it is decided that it would be best for the school if Bruce leaves Shanghai. The Japanese at this time, ruled Shanghai, so the Chinese were subjected to ridicule and bullying. A good example is when Bruce goes to the park and is refused entry because of the sign reading "No Dogs or Chinese Allowed" (this sign did exist!). Bruce is reluctant at first to leave but finally agrees. The night before Bruce is to leave, he hears something inside the school and goes to investigate. What he hears is the Japanese murderers talking about his masters death. These Japanese were disguised as Chinese and Bruce takes his revenge. If they didn't want war they certainly had it now. The Japanese are forcing the police to act and arrest Bruce for his murders (director Lo Wei plays the Chinese police inspector). Bruce hides out and disguises himself to further investigate his masters death. Finally, Bruce enters the Japanese school and after some of the most beautiful and violent fight scenes ever captured on film, Bruce takes his revenge. In the end, Bruce boldly gives himself up to the Japanese authorities. The final scene where Bruce leaps and dies in a haze of bullets was taken from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" which Bruce told to his student Dan Lee.
"Fist of Fury" opened in Hong Kong on March 22nd, 1972 and grossed nearly 4.5 million Hong Kong dollars in its initial run.
Bob Baker was the first foreigner to have a major part in a Hong Kong movie.
Bruce was challenged by a hair stylist on the set and finished him in a couple of seconds with a side kick.
Bruce received a Golden Horse Award for Best Acrobatic Acting.
Cast: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, Maria Yi, James Tien, Tien Feng, Hwong Chung Hsin, Han Ying Chieh, Lo Wei, Paul Wei Ping Ao, Lee Quin, Feng Yi, Tony Liu, Chin San, Bob Baker, Arimura Jun, Riki Hashimoto
Crew: Producer - Raymond Chow, Executive Producer - Liu Liang Hua, Director & Script Writer - Lo Wei, Assistant Director - Chih Yao Chang, Dubbing - Wang Ping, Recording - Kao Yang, Editing - Chang Yao Chung, Music - Ku Chia Hui Joseph